10 Family Travel & RV Camping Ideas from Dutchmen RV
Increase the Fun While Camping with These Outdoor Activities
Some of the best memories of RV camping involve time spent around the campfire. Classic activities include roasting marshmallows and telling stories, but there are many other pursuits your whole family can enjoy when you stop your RV and camp for the night.
Dutchmen RV has pulled together some favorite ideas for families of all ages to do around—and near—the campfire.
1. Play glow-in-the-dark ring toss – When kids need to burn off a little energy before bed, have them step away from the campfire a bit and play this game. Get a bunch of glow sticks—the kind you can attach to make bracelets or necklaces with—and create a large circle. Then, give each child or family member a bracelet-sized glow stick formed into a ring, each in a different color. Then, take turns tossing the small rings (or a straight, thicker glow stick) into the big ring to see who’s the best shot. Make the circle as wide or small as needed to adjust the difficulty.
2. Make shadow puppets – Use the glow of the fire, the side of the recreational vehicle, and your hands (or cutouts on sticks) to create animals and other silly shapes. Little ones will especially enjoy this activity—as audience members or puppeteers.
3. Dress up – Kids love dressing up and going out in the dark—isn’t that half the fun of Halloween? So why not let them dress up as fireflies, bats, cowpokes, moths, wizards—or whatever strikes their fancy—and let their imagination run wild around the fire. With plenty of space to pack a variety of outfits, this game doesn’t only have to be played on Halloween.
4. “Speak sparks” – Speaking of Halloween, there is one candy that’s perfect for after dark campfires: Wint-O-Green Lifesavers. Because of their chemical make-up, when your teeth crush the candy, “sparks” come out of your mouth. Sure, this encourages chewing with your mouth open, but once in a while won’t hurt—and do be sure the kids brush their teeth after!
5. Pop popcorn – Today’s kids (and many adults) have no idea that you can pop popcorn without a microwave. All you need is a heavy-duty skillet with a cover, popcorn kernels, and oil to go old school here. Or, get some Jiffy Pop and watch that space age foil ball grow. For a more modern approach, pick up contraptions made specifically for popping corn over an open fire. No matter which way you pop it, the kids won’t believe their eyes.
6. Watch the flames in living color – Fire mesmerizes young and old, but fire that dances in color? That’s something no caveman ever saw. Adults only—throw some simple table salt into the flames to give them a burst of color. However, fire colorant products will produce a longer lasting show.
7. Family travel stories with a twist – This is a great game for kids old enough to string a story together while involving the whole family. One person starts the story with a few sentences, ending with a “cliffhanger.” The next person picks up the story where the first left off and adds their own twist, and on it goes until the last person adds the conclusion. You can tell the story in one round or agree on multiple rounds. This will spark everyone’s imagination and usually leads to lots of laughter.
8. Play flashlight tag – Same as regular tag, but you do it in the dark. And, instead of physically tagging the person, you catch them in your flashlight. Great for older kids and teens. Variation: flashlight hide-and-go-seek. Just make sure everyone stays close to where you parked the RV. Opening the awning and using its LED lights is a great, low-key method to making sure everyone knows how far they’re straying from the campsite.
9. Stargaze – One of the advantages of getting out into the great outdoors—particularly if you’re boondocking—is that you’re away from city lights. Most people who live in the city or suburbs—and especially kids—haven’t seen the Milky Way in years, if ever. Just lying on your back and staring up at the sky is a light show you won’t forget. Pick out constellations or create your own from the "shapes” you see in the night sky. Add a telescope and you have a fun astronomy lesson for the whole family.
10. Where is our family? – This game will serve to remind everyone of the good times you’ve had traveling. Each person takes a turn giving three clues about a trip (or one destination on a trip) they’re thinking of. For example, “Teacups, elephant, fireworks,” could refer to a trip to Disneyland. “Dinosaur prints, gold, when mom locked herself in the bathroom” could refer to a funny (in hindsight) visit to Colorado. Make the clues more obvious, obscure, or humorous depending on the ages of the kids involved.
We could go on and on about some of our favorite family travel ideas, but we encourage you to try some of these for yourself, then make up some of your own! Just make sure to make an RV camping list to remind you what you need to bring and what games you can play with the whole family on your next adventure.